31 December 2022

First Looks: Inari at Tiger Lane

| Lucy Ridge
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beautifullly presented dish of sashimi

Tiger Lane Executive Chef Shaun Presland is well regarded for his command of traditional Japanese cooking techniques. Photo: Botanist Creative.

The second venue in Tiger Lane quietly opened its doors just before Christmas.

Inari – which takes its name from the Japanese ‘God of rice’ – is the passion project of Tiger Lane’s executive chef Shaun Presland.

Inari is another upmarket restaurant offering, with an a la carte menu designed to showcase the combination of traditional Japanese technique and Australian flavours that has become a signature part of Shaun Presland’s menus.

Joining the team is head chef Maria Sheslow, formerly of the prestigious Sydney restaurant Bay Nine Omakase. Sheslow brings over 13 years of fine dining experience to Tiger Lane, including a ‘honed focus’ on traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine.

two chefs slice sashimi

Tiger Lane executive chef Shaun Presland (L) and Inari head chef Maria Sheslow. Photo: Botanist Creative.

The menu at Inari will feature seafood dishes like the glacier 51 Miso Tooth-fish, which is marinated for two days in miso paste and grilled until golden brown and crispy. The fish is sustainably sourced from Antarctica, and the miso is a saikyo, or sweet miso, traditionally from Kyoto.

“I learnt this dish in 1995 and have paid homage to it my whole career while incorporating a sustainable species,” says Presland.

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Dishes are designed to share, and each dish has been curated with care for an exciting and engaging meal. The influence of Peruvian Nikkei cuisine is also apparent in the contemporary Japanese menu. Canberrans may be familiar with Nikkei food from nearby fine dining restaurant Inka.

“Inari encourages you to leave restraint at the door and pull down your mask for a dining experience interlaced with entertainment and wonder,” says Presland.

Shaun Presland is a self-described ‘sushi shaman’, and diners can enjoy watching him at work preparing fresh seafood at the raw bar station.

Japanese-inspired bar

Perch on a stool and grab a cocktail at Inari. Photo: Ben Calvert.

The design style of Inari is described as ‘Japanese 1960s retro-futurism’. The central bar divides the space with intimate booths and more formal dining space on the other. Wine racks line the walls, and a mirrored ceiling gives the impression that the Tokyo tower-inspired bar extends upwards forever.

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Eventually, the kitchen space at Inari will also service two takeaway windows facing Tiger Lane’s eponymous hawker-style laneway. One will serve sushi – made using a specially imported sushi rolling machine from Japan – while the other will focus more on Japanese-style rice bowls and noodle dishes.

Tiger Lane will also eventually include a dumpling restaurant, casual bar, street food stalls and a Chinese restaurant, but these locations aren’t expected to open until later in 2023. Once completed, the precinct will have 12 separate shopfronts and cover 2000 square metres

Table with sashimi, grilled corn and taco dishes

The Peruvian/Japanese Nikkei cuisine influence permeates the menu at Inari. Photo: Botanist Creative.

The team at Inari will have limited opening hours over the holiday break as they fine-tune the menu but are planning a more significant launch in January to ‘officially’ welcome diners to the space!

Inari is located at Tiger Lane, in the Canberra Centre, at 148 Bunda Street. It’s open for lunch Friday and Saturday from 12 pm to 3 pm and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm. From Saturday, 21 January 2023, Inari, will be open for lunch and dinner every day of the week.

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